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Ethical Research Involving Children

Prioritising children and young people with disability in research about domestic and family violence: Methodological, ethical and pragmatic reflections.

Robinson, S., Foley, K., Moore, T., Valentine, K., Burton, J., Marshall, A., O’Donnell, M. & Brebner, C. (2023). Prioritising children and young people with disability in research about domestic and family violence: Methodological, ethical and pragmatic reflections. Journal of Family Violence, Published Online Ahead of Print.

Abstract:
Purpose
The perspectives of children and young people with disability who experience domestic and family violence are under-researched, impeding the development of approaches that meet their needs. Knowledge gaps stem from the layered discursive positioning of disability, childhood/youth, or domestic and family violence in addition to the methodological, ethical and pragmatic complexity of research needed to understand their priorities and be attuned to their lived experience. This article explores methodological, ethical and practical challenges to centring their voices in research about domestic and family violence.

Method
A conceptual framework of feminist disability theory and intersectionality informed our co-designed research, across three phases: (1) quantitative large-scale data linkage and case file analysis; (2) qualitative research with children and young people, their families and service providers and (3) stakeholder engagement workshops.

Results
We reflect on how our research was able to prioritise the contextual agency of children and young people with disability, ways it could not, and other constraints.

Conclusion
Children and young people with disability experiencing domestic and family violence hold an expert and unique vantage point on what happens to them. Amplifying their priorities for directing policy and organisational change requires more of researchers in terms of methods, but also more flexibility in how projects are funded to enable creativity and innovation. We call for collective attention to frameworks for supported decision-making and child ethics to progress inclusive research which recognises the importance of participation for children and young people with disability.

(Abstract reproduced with permission © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2023)

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